(Please note: This newsletter is from Bill Curtis, founder of the Fatback Band. It is being shared with his permission,)
This has been a great year and I’m so blessed to be surrounded by such a great family of friends around the world. And I want to thank you for your support over the many years and we would have never made this many years without you! I wish I could express how I feel in my heart to each and every one of you. We thank you, your grandkids and your great-grandkids for helping to keep the funk alive!!! “May your Holidays be Merry and Bright & have a Blessed and prosperous NEW YEAR”!!!
Okay guys let’s look back… it’s been eleven or twelve years. Where are we on the internet today and how did it make our lives better as creative artist. First let me declare myself, I feel there is a place for both label and independent artists, I’m all for new technology, new ideas, and a new ways of doing business in music industry, where the creative artist gets the lion’s share of the revenues.. Whereas the Artists have control of what he does… Where are we now? in a technology music world, where people take your content and use it to build another platform and pay you what they want you to have and there one more platform, self-help that the one that tell you what they can do for you the one that takes your money for doing nothing. It took me while to learn this it not about us it about them make money in the name of making it better for you. let’s see what we have in the last 12 years.
They said in the long run the musicians would be better off, the playing field would be leveled. And yes it was. but it unleased so much music on the world till it’s like water… it makes it almost impossible for anyone to gain any traction. Also it made it possible for you to build your our selling market. While you compete with the world, you are starving on the way and getting deeper in debt. No! The long haul is not the way, been at that end too long.
There are exceptions and you read about them every day. That’s what keep you hanging on but for the 99% the new music world…it’s not working that well! I’ve talk with musicians and artists around world I hear the same story. “I’m making a little but I can’t pay the bills with it” and there was a time when we could. Technology is making it very hard for everyone, not only musicians and if we’re not careful technology will soon create a whole world of the unemployed. I know it sounds crazy, but just think about it. Just around the corner are driverless cars, now we got unemployed cab drivers, truck drivers, etc. So you get the picture of what I mean, with all of these robots and drones, replaces manpower and it’s not going to stop.. I just wanted to drop that on you to let you know that we not the only out here affected by technology.(and they want to cut back on unemployment benefits)
After eleven years out here applying and using the social Medias…it all boils down to the individual needs, what it can do for you and does it make sense? And what I found out with Spotify, Pandora and YouTube, it don’t really make sense the fees they pay us, for the use of our music.(they are doing better than the junkbox man) I have told you this before, until we get rid of the third parties, it’s always gonna be this way. The game haven’t changed, they just wearing a new face. When I say the game hasn’t change, it’s still about you going out there making things happen! You got to build you a following. In my days it was call a fan club. You can’t really build loyal fan base sitting home at a computer. a base that will buy your merchandise, come to hear you play, tell their friends about you…and that’s what the Chitlins circuit (tour) was about. they keep black music alive. Record companies even built their white acts up off the money they stole from black acts, money that didn’t pay them. One black artist built a whole company; he was the biggest act they had, in his time. This business is not for the weak at heart, this is the future and we’re not going back, so embraces it, but not blindly look at every platform and measure, if it not paying you what you think you are worth leave it alone…. its all about EXPOSURE, EXPOSURE, EXPOSURE.
One thing I did noticed the internet made black music more accessible worldwide, but don’t know if it black friendly (technology) or is it we just don’t know how to be that tech savvy? All the success story I read about, it’s still the same picture. With all the new venues and genre coming about, it the same group of people going through the same doors. I don’t see those doors opening, maybe they are, and I just don’t see them. Is this our new chitlin circuit?
Bill (Fatback) Curtis
PS yes! I’m still touring with the Band and recording not as much as I would like to…